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Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc.
Serving clients in Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California and greater Bay Area region

Asset Protection 101

As you age, it becomes more and more important to set up an estate plan to manage your assets for the future. Whether you have substantial assets or not, it is important to protect them. There are a few different ways to go about estate planning, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you decide what estate planning approach is best for your needs.

The California estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver can help you plan for your future. With experience in all areas of estate planning, our attorneys can help you protect your assets and set up an estate plan. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your estate plans.

Protecting Your Assets with an Estate Plan

Creating an estate plan is a crucial step in protecting your assets, not just for yourself, but for your beneficiaries. In California, if you pass away without a will or any type of estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed according to California law. Your estate will pass through probate, which can be a long, expensive, and difficult process for any heirs to your estate. With an estate plan, you may be able to avoid subjecting your heirs to having to go through probate with your estate. You also will have control over what happens to your assets when you have an estate plan that sets forth the distribution of your assets according to your wishes.

Different Types of Estate Plans

Most people are familiar with the concept of a will, but there are other estate planning approaches that may be more beneficial to you than drafting a simple will for the distribution of your assets. For example, there are situations where creating a trust in which to place your assets can more significantly protect them than if you had used a will. 

There are two main types of trusts--revocable and irrevocable trusts. The best type of trust for you to create depends on your financial situation and what you wish to accomplish by creating a trust. The major difference between these two types of trusts is that a revocable trust can be modified and amended over time, and an irrevocable trust cannot be changed unless extenuating circumstances apply.

Protecting Your Assets by Placing Them in An Irrevocable Trust

An irrevocable trust is one form of estate planning that you may want to use if you have concerns regarding creditors coming after your assets or if you want to protect your assets from litigation. With an irrevocable trust, title and ownership of the assets placed in the trust are transferred from you to the trust. 

Though there are drawbacks to creating an irrevocable trust, it is a great way to protect and shield your assets. The main drawback to placing your assets in an irrevocable trust is that, generally, the trust cannot later be modified or amended. 

While there are some exceptions to this rule, these exceptions only apply in certain circumstances and often require court approval for any changes made to the trust. Despite these drawbacks, putting your assets in an irrevocable trust may be the best way to protect them, depending on your individual circumstances. Your attorney will be able to help you determine the best ways to go about protecting your assets for the future.

Other Ways to Protect Your Assets Through Estate Planning

Beyond placing your assets in a trust or creating a will, there are other things you can do while estate planning to make sure your assets are protected. You can also work with your attorney to create a document establishing a power of attorney to someone you designate to make financial and other important decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make these decisions yourself. 

In the power of attorney document, you will include the name of the person you choose to have power of attorney. You will also be able to set forth specific details in the document itself regarding when the power of attorney is active. Designating someone to hold power of attorney over important financial decisions is one way you can be sure your assets are protected, even while you are still alive. 

By hiring an experienced estate planning attorney, you can learn more about the different methods available that you can use to protect your assets. Contact us today at Galanti and Copenhaver to learn more about how you can use estate planning to protect your assets and to protect your future.

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